From the congestion of Hanoi, we flew via the local airline VietJet about an hour south to Da Nang,
and discovered not only the silence of the waves, but also that Da Nang is not just a sleepy beach village: it is the country's 3rd largest city!
When we decided in January to visit Vietnam, it was primarily to see the country my college roommate had told me of as we chatted in our dorm. For the past 12 years since we'd be placed together as freshman, I'd dreamed of visiting her country with her. As Ho Chi Minh City was a bit sweltering this time of a year for a visit, she, her husband and adorable son met us in Da Nang for a weekend at the beach. The best. And what was most amazing was just how normal it felt, halfway around the world together.
Lan Tu had arranged for us to stay in the gorgeous Furama Resort, isolated from the main drag of resorts and with a shockingly empty beach. (She told us that many of the Asian visitors likely were avoiding sun during the heat of the day as tanning isn't as popular as it is with pale New Yorkers like us.)
Walking along the hotel's corridors in the stillness of air fresh off the sea and through the piles of pink paper flowers blowing onto the path completely rejuvenated us from our half-globe traverse.
And the flowers seemed to grow like weeds there, like everywhere in the moist, green country. Can you believe these orchids?
With our wonky jetlag in effect, Walker and I woke very early most mornings for a quiet beach walk. We watched the round basket boats come in from fishing, and generally enjoyed the salt on our feet.
Then it was time for the hugest breakfast buffet, which literally took a full minute to walk around and must've featured at least 300 items, both Asian and Western style. I tried everything from Vietnamese custard to bowls of pho soup to oatmeal; Walker enjoyed the Vietnamese coffees filled with condensed milk. We spent most mornings and evenings in the pool, and took a few excursions around the peninsula near Da Nang: to the temples of Son Tra, the Marble Mountains, and the fairy-lit village of Hoi An, which I'll tell you about soon.
One evening, we were recommended dinner reservations at a restaurant called Rachel in the city, so took a cab for what turned out to be a casual, but homey meal. I had really delicious sweet pork spring rolls with sesame.
But here's the kicker: it had a view of the dragon bridge.
And at 9pm on Saturdays and Sundays, the dragon bridge SPEWS OUT FIRE
and then it spits water. The whole process was only a few minutes, but was thoroughly endearing and we're glad we saw one of Da Nang's perks.
Da Nang's weather was luckily sunny but not too hot, and one of the differences from the rest of Vietnam was the mostly-blue sky; the humidity elsewhere often ensures a flat white backdrop, but in Da Nang, the sun could feel the earth.
We could've spent a week or more exploring the area, but our four days based in Da Nang slowed the trip down for us to breathe, and we would love to be back someday for more of the jungle-thick greens lining the beach, and the impeccable hotel service.